Your Guide to Menopause
Are There Any Treatments to Help the Symptoms of Menopause?
There are a number of treatments for menopause symptoms.
Lifestyle changes. A healthy diet and regular exercise program will help manage menopause symptoms and maintain overall good health. It is also a good idea to finally kick any old, unhealthy habits, such as smoking or drinking too much alcohol. Tips for handling hot flashes include dressing lightly and in layers and avoiding triggers like caffeine and spicy foods.
Prescription medication for hot flashes. Treatment with estrogen and progesterone, called combination hormone therapy (HT) or hormone replacement therapy (HRT), can be prescribed for women who still have a uterus. HT helps symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats, and it may help prevent osteoporosis. Estrogen alone is given to women who have had the uterus removed, which is called a hysterectomy. Remaining sexually active may also help to preserve the lining of the vagina.
Many women should not get hormone therapy. This includes women with current or past breast or uterine (endometrial) cancer, blood clots, liver disease, stroke, women who may be pregnant, or women who have undiagnosed vaginal bleeding.
For women who can't or don't want to take hormones, there are other medications to ease symptoms. They include antidepressants, antiseizure drugs, or blood pressure medications to help with hot flashes and mood swings.
Prescription and OTC medication for vaginal dryness and sleep problems. Topical estrogen, lubricants, and non-estrogen prescriptions can treat vaginal dryness and painful sex. Sleep aids can help with trouble sleeping.
Nontraditional therapies. There are many unproven methods for treating menopause symptoms, some more effective than others. Acupuncture, meditation, and relaxation techniques are harmless ways to ease the stress of menopause, and some people believe they help. Many women also try herbal or natural remedies. Talk to a doctor before trying any of these.